Interfaith Dialogue

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treehuggingoctopus
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Re: Is it possible to be a Budhist and believe in God?

Post by treehuggingoctopus » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:15 am

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

How many times! :tantrum:
. . . there they saw a rock! But it wasn't a rock . . .

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Dechen Norbu
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Re: Is it possible to be a Budhist and believe in God?

Post by Dechen Norbu » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:43 am

freefromsamsara wrote:How do you know the Lord Creator isn't the same being as Adi Buddha in buddhist cosmology?
Because this is made clear in the teachings. Only a bad interpretation of them allows such a comparison.

[quotes]The Gods and Buddhas are all powerful beings who can transform themselves..[/quote]
There's no such hing as all powerful beings in Buddhism. You would only need one Buddha that was all powerful and all beings would be enlightened already. Unfortunately such fantasies only exist in our mind.
They have this ability to appear as A to one culture and B to another culture..
Even if you consider this true, you can't jump to the conclusion that this renders Buddhist deities manifestations of an Abrahamic God. You say: deities have the power to appear to people according to their culture. OK. How come you then drawn the conclusion that, because of such, all deities are God? It's a non sequitur, meaning your premises don't allow you to reach such conclusion. It's wishful thinking on your part, friend.
To say that this religion is right or that religion is wrong is nothing more than sheer arrogance on our part..
I would say that arrogance is trying to shape an entire system of beliefs, disregarding its core tenets and the teachings of its luminaries, so that it becomes compatible with our pet view of religions, especially if we don't know much about the whole subject.

I may understand your wish for every religion to be the same. But they aren't. Some are mutually exclusive by their own admission. In this particular case, you either believe in a God a la Abrahamic way or you are a Buddhist. Saying that you can have both is like saying that you don't care about swimming and yet consider yourself a lifeguard, totally disregarding that to be a lifeguard you need to know how to swim . You can wear the gear, sure, but when it comes to saving lives...

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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by DGA » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:28 pm

freefromsamsara wrote:How do you know the Lord Creator isn't the same being as Adi Buddha in buddhist cosmology?
You can't prove a negative. If you want to make a positive claim that LC = MahaVairocana, then the burden of proof is on you. So prove it if you can.
The Gods and Buddhas are all powerful beings who can transform themselves..
Prove it.
They have this ability to appear as A to one culture and B to another culture..
Prove it.
To say that this religion is right or that religion is wrong is nothing more than sheer arrogance on our part..
Then don't do it yourself: advocating the all-religions-are-one religion is itself taking sides against the Buddhists, the Christians, &c. That said, I don't think many (if any) participants in this thread are saying that Buddhism is always right, and any other religion is always inferior. The claim is merely that Buddhism is fundamentally different from these. (It is, as you can tell from the detailed posts in this thread). You might say that I am asserting the superiority of Buddhism by practicing Buddhism instead of, say, Bahai-ism. Sure. I'm a Buddhist, not a Bahai. That's one thing. It would be profoundly hypocritical to get out in public and denounce the Bahais for not being Buddhists...

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by Malcolm » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:30 pm

freefromsamsara wrote:How do you know the Lord Creator isn't the same being as Adi Buddha in buddhist cosmology?
Because the Adibuddha is not a creator.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

steveb1
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by steveb1 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:38 pm

Namdrol wrote:
freefromsamsara wrote:How do you know the Lord Creator isn't the same being as Adi Buddha in buddhist cosmology?
Because the Adibuddha is not a creator.
Could someone please expand on this ... ?

I did not find much on Abi Buddha when I did a Google search, except that Abi Buddha is a primordial Buddha from whom things flow in an "emanationist" manner. Granted that this is accurate, and that emanation is not the same as creation, still: what is the essential difference ... ? If Abi Buddha is not a "sky father"-type creator, but still "He" is an emanator, then is "He" not involved in the origination of universes and the structure of physical processes ... ? But if that is true, how is that a Buddha would emanate a samsaric world full of ignorance and suffering ... ?

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by Malcolm » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:39 pm

steveb1 wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
freefromsamsara wrote:How do you know the Lord Creator isn't the same being as Adi Buddha in buddhist cosmology?
Because the Adibuddha is not a creator.
Could someone please expand on this ... ?

I did not find much on Abi Buddha when I did a Google search, except that Abi Buddha is a primordial Buddha from whom things flow in an "emanationist" manner. Granted that this is accurate, and that emanation is not the same as creation, still: what is the essential difference ... ? If Abi Buddha is not a "sky father"-type creator, but still "He" is an emanator, then is "He" not involved in the origination of universes and the structure of physical processes ... ? But if that is true, how is that a Buddha would emanate a samsaric world full of ignorance and suffering ... ?
Because "Adi" means first, and really refers to the first Buddha of the present eon, the first Buddha who woke up.

N
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by steveb1 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:48 pm

[quote="]How do you know the Lord Creator isn't the same being as Adi Buddha in buddhist cosmology?

... snipped ...

Could someone please expand on this ... ?

I did not find much on Abi Buddha when I did a Google search, except that Abi Buddha is a primordial Buddha from whom things flow in an "emanationist" manner. Granted that this is accurate, and that emanation is not the same as creation, still: what is the essential difference ... ? If Abi Buddha is not a "sky father"-type creator, but still "He" is an emanator, then is "He" not involved in the origination of universes and the structure of physical processes ... ? But if that is true, how is that a Buddha would emanate a samsaric world full of ignorance and suffering ... ?[/quote]

Because "Adi" means first, and really refers to the first Buddha of the present eon, the first Buddha who woke up.

N[/quote][/quote]

Sorry I was incorrrectly spelling Adi ("Abi").

That's really interesting. Not to tax the point, does this Buddha of the present eon have a name - I presume it was not Shakyamuni because other Buddhas preceded him?

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by Malcolm » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:03 pm

steveb1 wrote:
That's really interesting. Not to tax the point, does this Buddha of the present eon have a name - I presume it was not Shakyamuni because other Buddhas preceded him?
Samantabhadra.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

Rakz
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by Rakz » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:56 pm

Namdrol wrote:
steveb1 wrote:
That's really interesting. Not to tax the point, does this Buddha of the present eon have a name - I presume it was not Shakyamuni because other Buddhas preceded him?
Samantabhadra.
Where did this idea originate from the Adi Buddha is the "Primordial" Buddha rather than the first Buddha of this aeon? Is it perhaps a mistranslation from Tibetan texts or the teaching of a different Tibetan school(s)?

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by Malcolm » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:00 am

Nighthawk wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
steveb1 wrote:
That's really interesting. Not to tax the point, does this Buddha of the present eon have a name - I presume it was not Shakyamuni because other Buddhas preceded him?
Samantabhadra.
Where did this idea originate from the Adi Buddha is the "Primordial" Buddha rather than the first Buddha of this aeon? Is it perhaps a mistranslation from Tibetan texts or the teaching of a different Tibetan school(s)?
Misunderstanding of early western scholars.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Sherab
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by Sherab » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:05 am

I posted this elsewhere in response to a Christian:

If there is a (Creator) God, he must be self-sufficient.
If God is not self-sufficient, how can he be God?
If God is self-sufficient, there is no need for him to create anything.
Therefore any act of creation by God is either purposeless or irrational.
Since the world exists, therefore any belief in the existence of a God who created the world is either due to ignorance or irrationality.

The same argument applies if someone argues that God is some kind of "Principle" that is the source of all existences and tries to attribute a personality or purpose to that "Principle".

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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by tobes » Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:38 am

If one is positing an entirely rational standard here - which applies to theists - then can one coherently and rationally argue that there was a previous cosmological epoch, in which sentient beings were awakened, and now there is another cosmological epoch, in which sentient beings are not awakened?

What is the logical basis for that claim?

i.e Can Dzogchen, for example, be defended upon a purely rational basis?

If it does not, then what is the point of holding other traditions to account for not having a rational basis?

It seems to me that there is one standard for non-Buddhist traditions (they must be empirically verifiable and rationally coherent) and another for Buddhist traditions (there may be some rational elements, some empirical elements, and some elements of belief).

:anjali:

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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by steveb1 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:45 am

Namdrol wrote:
steveb1 wrote:
That's really interesting. Not to tax the point, does this Buddha of the present eon have a name - I presume it was not Shakyamuni because other Buddhas preceded him?
Samantabhadra.
Thanks, Namdrol :)

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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by Rakz » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:25 am

tobes wrote:then can one coherently and rationally argue that there was a previous cosmological epoch, in which sentient beings were awakened, and now there is another cosmological epoch, in which sentient beings are not awakened?
If this were true I would of abandoned Buddhism a long time ago, but I tend to trust the words of Shakyamuni of the Hinayana and Mahayana. The Dzogchen view that all sentient beings will become Buddhas at the end of this aeon regardless if they have practiced the Dharma or not doesn't really make much sense at all. And then these Buddhas are said to revert back to the "basis" in other words ignorance, but how can a Buddha ever revert back to that? If a Buddha will revert back to ignorance then he is not really a Buddha so why even label them as that?

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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:11 pm

Just because you know something , this does not mean that everybody who comes after you will know what you know. Just because a buddha appears in the world does not mean that every being who comes later appears as a buddha. If you are asking how all sentient beings be buddhas in one epoch and then later they are all ignorant again, no that cannot happen. So, the basic premise must be either wrong, or correct but based on a wrong understanding.

As far as time and epochs and kalpas go, these are all mental constructs. It''s not as though a clock started ticking when the big bang occurred. It is we who divide what is essentially an infinite and unmeasurable present, beginningless and endless moment of right now into past, present and future segments. In fact, depending on the relative position of things in the physical universe, two objects might exist at the same time or hundreds of years apart, merely depending on their movement or lack of movement.

As far as double standards go, religions require faith in things that cannot be verified by one's personal experience. Virgin birth and resurrection, parting of the sea, being a prophet of Allah and so forth. But even though Buddhism is full of stories and fantastic beings, one does not have to believe any of it in order to practice dharma. We do not have to believe legends of how Prince Siddhartha was born or that there are other beings in the universe or in previous Buddhas or anything. But religions generally require it. That is why we ask them to back up their claims. We can practice what the Buddha is said to have taught and see if it works. It's like making fire. We don't know what prehistoric person first did this, but we can do exactly the same thing and have the same results today.

All beings will become buddhas means that eventually the results (of various causes) which obscure one's original nature eventually come to an end, just as smoke stops coming from incense as soon as the cause of the smoke, the stick, is burned up. Eventually this is will happen because ignorance results from causes and causes are conditional and therefore temporary.

Ignorance isn't the basis. It isn't the starting point of anything. It isn't a something, it is a lack of something. Buddhas don't return to ignorance.
We can say they return to the basis but really they have never left it because the basis is originally awakened mind.
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Dechen Norbu
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by Dechen Norbu » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:17 pm

tobes wrote:If one is positing an entirely rational standard here - which applies to theists - then can one coherently and rationally argue that there was a previous cosmological epoch, in which sentient beings were awakened, and now there is another cosmological epoch, in which sentient beings are not awakened?

What is the logical basis for that claim?

i.e Can Dzogchen, for example, be defended upon a purely rational basis?

If it does not, then what is the point of holding other traditions to account for not having a rational basis?

It seems to me that there is one standard for non-Buddhist traditions (they must be empirically verifiable and rationally coherent) and another for Buddhist traditions (there may be some rational elements, some empirical elements, and some elements of belief).

:anjali:
I don't think that's the point in this thread.
The point, I believe, is whether Buddhism can accept the concept of an Abrahamic God without going against its main tenets. I believe it can't.
If we think carefully every epistemology is, in the end, a mere belief system, more or less grounded in a set of metaphysical predilections that must be considered apriori. Buddhism, Abrahamic religions, even science are ultimately belief systems. Not a single one can be said to translate reality as it is and I'm quite sure you know why due to your extensive background, so I won't even go there. Reason, if very useful, is still a tool, a filter through which we evaluate our experience, not reality itself, it must be said.
We are stuck either with interpretations, that we can consider as being a sort of refined beliefs, more or less shared, or then gnosis, a sort of direct apprehension of reality as it is. Buddhism claims the second is possible as its fruit, not attributing such status to itself- defining itself as the first, illusions to cut through illusion, as all mental fabrications can only be. All we have are belief systems. until enlightenment, that is. :lol:

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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by LastLegend » Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:54 pm

tobes wrote:If one is positing an entirely rational standard here - which applies to theists - then can one coherently and rationally argue that there was a previous cosmological epoch, in which sentient beings were awakened, and now there is another cosmological epoch, in which sentient beings are not awakened?
If you are sleeping, you are not awakened. If you are awakened, you are not sleeping.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by Malcolm » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:19 pm

Nighthawk wrote: The Dzogchen view that all sentient beings will become Buddhas at the end of this aeon regardless if they have practiced the Dharma or not doesn't really make much sense at all.
That is not the Dzogchen view.

The Dzogchen view is that all sentient beings will becomes Buddhas by the end of the eon because they will all meet Dzogchen teachings and practice them.

And then these Buddhas are said to revert back to the "basis" in other words ignorance, but how can a Buddha ever revert back to that? If a Buddha will revert back to ignorance then he is not really a Buddha so why even label them as that?
Here, the usage "buddha" is not precise. It means those who have gained some measure of realization i.e. bodhi, but not necessarily annutara samyak sambodhi.

Also revert to the basis does not mean reverting to ignorance. There is no ignorance in the basis.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

DGA
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by DGA » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:02 pm

Here's the point of the thread (thanks to DN for bringing it up):
Jikan wrote:There have been a few threads on DW and elsewhere on God in Buddhism: calls for room for an Abrahamic or Vedantic Godhead in Buddha Dharma have been made ("Theistic Buddhism"?) and generally shown to be incoherent.

I'd like to consider the reverse: now that Buddhist traditions have had plenty of exposure to Abrahamic doctrines for a significant period of time, we might have some examples of what have Buddhist teachers said about the God of the Tanakh and the Koran. Anyone have anything on this?
I was interested in finding out the reverse of the usual arguments in favor of recuperating some kind of theism into Buddhist thinking: instead, I wanted to know if there are canonical Buddhist arguments about particular theistic religious views.

I'm not going to lock the thread yet, but I would like to present a reminder of what the topic actually is.

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mint
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Re: Buddhism on God

Post by mint » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:20 pm

Jikan wrote:Here's the point of the thread (thanks to DN for bringing it up):
Jikan wrote:There have been a few threads on DW and elsewhere on God in Buddhism: calls for room for an Abrahamic or Vedantic Godhead in Buddha Dharma have been made ("Theistic Buddhism"?) and generally shown to be incoherent.

I'd like to consider the reverse: now that Buddhist traditions have had plenty of exposure to Abrahamic doctrines for a significant period of time, we might have some examples of what have Buddhist teachers said about the God of the Tanakh and the Koran. Anyone have anything on this?
I was interested in finding out the reverse of the usual arguments in favor of recuperating some kind of theism into Buddhist thinking: instead, I wanted to know if there are canonical Buddhist arguments about particular theistic religious views.

I'm not going to lock the thread yet, but I would like to present a reminder of what the topic actually is.
I don't see the point. What person here could hopefully adequately respond to the "particular" theistic religious views of Gregory Palamas, or Jacob Boehme, or even Karl Rahner? How can there be canonical arguments for something which most practical Buddhists try not to understand?

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